Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reader Questions Answered

Amanda: I have to eat two packets of instant oatmeal to be full. Is that still a healthy breakfast? I would look at the calories in the two packets. If that fits into your daily allotment of calories, I don't think it's a problem (it might be around 300). You might also want to try getting a big container of the oats. A serving size is 1/2 c., maybe try eating 3/4 c. and see if that fills you up more. I've noticed that when my husband makes his cinnamon instant oats packet, he gets less in a packet than I do when I measure 1/2 c., and the calories on his are 10 more because of the added sugar in the packet.

Is regular slow cook better then instant oatmeal (in other words, is the instant stuff just as bad as sugary kids cereal)?
You can buy plain instant oatmeal that has nothing added to it. Look for "Quick Cooking Oats" in a big container, or the plain kind. It will have no added sugar, and is MUCH healthier than sugary cereals. You really have to read the labels though, to see exactly what is added to the packets. That's why I like to add my own mix-ins, so I can control the sugar and calories.

Most of the times that can keep me satisfied from 8-12, sometimes I have to have a small snack around 10 or 10:30.
That's how it works for me, too. I eat my oatmeal around 7am, then I have a banana around 10, which keeps me from getting too hungry at lunch time!
As long as you keep your calories under control, and spread out a bit, I think you're doing just fine!

Melissa: Right now I am struggling with my own weight loss. I went hard-core from July through November of last year and lost 30 pounds. Then I took December off and gained back 10 of those thirty. Well now, in January, I have been back on track again but have barely lost any weight. I am doing the same things I was before when I was steadily losing weight. What am I doing wrong? Do you have any ideas for me? It sucks to be trying so hard but not see any results and I'm really starting to get discouraged.
First off, Don't get discouraged!!! Sometimes your body doesn't respond the way it did in the past, the way you think it should, or want it to! That's ok!
Perhaps your body has adjusted to what you were doing in the past, and you need to try some new things. After I ellipticalled for so long, the results weren't as good, so I switched to c25k, and jump started my weight loss. Are you doing strength training? Maybe that is something you can incorporate. Plyometrics are great at getting the metabolism going.
You might also want to look at your diet, has it changed much? Are you not as active as you were? You can be exercising the same, but the rest of your day might be more sedentary. I know in the winter, I am less likely to add the long walks with Pumpkin, which do add up! I also don't run 4-5 miles on the weekends, I stick to 30 minutes on the treadmill, that time adds up.
I would try some new workouts, pay close attention to your calorie intake, drink lots of water, and make sure you're eating all your friends and veggies!
If things don't change after that, you might want to talk to your doctor.

Ashley: In regards to the Shred did you start by doing Level 1 with 5lb weights or what? how long did you do level 1 before moving on to level 2?
When I started shredding, I used my 5lb. weights. I did 10 days at each level for the month of June. Now I alternate between levels 2 and 3 each day.
There have been questions about the shred, whether it should be done daily, etc. My point of view is this, though you should take days off when lifting weights, I don't look at the shred as lifting, it's just toning muscle, it's not as strenuous as a weight lifting session would be where you're really working to build muscle fast. So I don't have a problem shredding daily. Also, since I alternate between levels, I am using different muscles each day so it's not overly repetetive. Every few weeks, I'll take a day off from the shred, but I love doing it daily!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oatmeal, the Love of my Life!

As long as I'd been over-weight, breakfast was a hit or miss event. When I was in high school, I didn't have the time to sit down and eat something. When I was in college, I'd end up in the cafeteria getting eggs and biscuits (and yes - sometimes sausage gravy... oops! the down side to going to college in the south!) It wasn't until I graduated, got a real world job, and got a schedule that I really figured out how important breakfast is!
The first few days I went without it, I'd be ravaging at lunch, and I'd make bad choices. I've never really enjoyed breakfast food, I'm not big on cereal, I don't like milk, sweet things tend to make my stomach hurt early in the morning, so I struggled to find something I liked.
One day I was reading my mom's Prevention magazine, and saw an article about the importance of breakfast, and how great oatmeal is. I always thought oatmeal took forever to cook, was thick and flavorless... not anything exciting to me!
Now, oatmeal is my everything. The health benefits are AMAZING! See this article here, from Quaker.
Some people do not like the Quick Cook oats because they can get a bit thick and loose their texture, but I don't have a problem with them! I think oatmeal is a delicious canvas for a million flavors. Some of my favorite additions are: soy milk, skim milk, pumpkin puree, dried fruit, bananas, apple butter, pumpkin butter, flax seeds, cinnamon, and peanut butter. Usually during the week I just add some milk and honey, but over the weekend I really like to make it something special.
If you really want to see oatmeal art, and someone who loves it, see Kath's Tribute!

So if you struggle to get something down in the morning because of time or you just can't find something you like, try oatmeal! Not only is it so good for you, it will keep you feeling full, it will warm your belly, and you can change it up daily! You can buy preportioned 'weight control' oats, where you just dump it in a bowl with some water, or you can do what I do and get bulk oats in a bin, and keep a 1/2 c. measuring scoop in there!

Note: Photo is from Quaker website.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reader Questions and Weigh Day

Amber asked: What was the breaking point for you? You know the point that you said I've got to change my life now and begin living healthier? I think motivation is an amazing thing. I am personally struggling with it right now. So, what motivates you?

I've been pretty open about the fact that the one single thing that really made me start losing weight was my wedding (click on this link to see that post).
What made me begin though, or my "rock bottom, turning point, climax of my life story" sort of events, was my engagement party. My in-laws, and pretty much all of JJ's family live in Florida. Since the wedding was at my Dad's church in Cincinnati, OH, we figured many Floridians wouldn't be able to come, so they threw us a party down there. It was such a great event, I got to meet so many of JJ's extended family and friends... however at the time, I was at my highest weight to date - 252 lbs., wearing a size 22 pants, and felt AWFUL.
The party was a blast, but the whole time I was so self conscious. It was my first time meeting many of these people, and I was my heaviest and self-proclaimed, ugliest.

Here is one of the only photos I kept from the party because I couldn't stand the way I looked in all of the others. It's not awful, but you can see all the pudge.

So that's what it took. Looking my worst, and feeling my worst, at such an important and once in a lifetime event. I had planned all along to lose wieght for the wedding, but here I was 9 months away from the wedding, and I hadn't lost a pound (and we had been engaged for 8 months already!) So as soon as we got back from Florida, I decided to get on track, and that's where the other post picks up!

To answer the other part of the question - what motivates me... There are so many things that motivate me...

-Being able to share clothes with sisters and friends.

- The magical number - 100 lbs! I'm getting so close!

- Knowing I can get up and run 6 miles, and the freedom I feel when I do.

- Having my blog out for the world to see, knowing people hold me accountable.

- The health problems I will not face because of obesity or being overweight that my Grandparents face(d)

Elizabeth asked: Just wondering how you keep from snacking during the day......I think that's my biggest problem

This isn't as hard for me during the week because I am at work and I don't keep snacks around, but I do try to eat every 2-3 hours so I don't get so hungry that I overeat or go for junk. My schedule is pretty much the same during the week, around 1500-1600 calories.
7 am - breakfast - oatmeal and coffee (200 cal)
10 am - banana (100 cal)
noon - another piece of fruit (apple, nectarine, pear, clementines) (100 cal)
3pm - yoplait light yogurt and some carrot sticks or peas (200 cal)
6pm - dinner (700 cal)
8pm - fat free pudding with fruit, frozen yogurt with fruit, or any other 200ish calorie dessert

I like to eat one big dinner though (mostly because I love to cook, but also I just love to have one big meal). I also drink a lot of water during the day.

The weekends are antoher story though, I struggle during the weekend to keep myself from grazing... however I don't keep snacks (besides fruit and veggies) in the house, so it's not as hard. Sometimes though, if I feel like I could eat a horse, I'll go for a bowl of cereal, or an additional bowl of oatmeal (around 200 calories).

And of course, sometimes we're out running errands and I'll get a real lunch - like a sub or when we go to Sams, a plain soft pretzel. I also HIGHLY recommend a bag of Newman's fat free kettle corn pop corn. I'm all about bulk and volume when I eat, so I love a giant bag of popcorn.

And Friday's results - I lost .5 lbs. I'm actually pretty happy about that because since I had 3 big weeks in a row, I was expecting to have a week or two where I didn't lose any, or just a little. This week I've had a lot of events, which meant food... so I definitely was higher on my calories than normal. Since my goal was to lose the Christmas weight before Valentine's Day, I'm still on track with 2.5 to go!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reader Questions, the not pretty/fun stuff

Today's reader questions get into the not pretty, and not fun to talk about stuff. I hope I don't gross anyone out, or hurt your feelings! At one time, I was full of excuses too... so here it goes!

D'Rae asked: I know that this is going to sound kinda silly, but how do you find the time to exercise? That is what I am having a problem with.
Ok, time to be blunt and just put it out there.... it's not about finding time, it's about making time.
Think about all of the things you do that are optional, like waching TV or shopping.
If you have ONLY 20 minutes, do The Shred! That's all you need, and it's a great, comprehensive workout.
Make it part of your daily routine, and you'll never even think about 'having no time.'
Maybe you need to wake up a little earlier, do it then. How about a lunch break? Exercise should be a #1 priority with eating and sleeping. It's that important!

Nicole asked: I do have one questions, actually something that I have been personally concerned about. How has your skin been? Any lose skin, sagginess? Any tips in that department? My weight is in my belly and I am just worried about having rolls of skin.
As of now, I don't have any problems with skin. I am 23, so being young, my skin is still really eslastic. I also have lost the weight over 21 months now, so my body has had ample time to recover from every pound.
That's not to say when I do finally hit my goal I won't have any, but as of now it all looks normal... lol

And finally, my own little note to add...
Before I started losing weight, I was a FULL double D... and now I'm a small D. I am thrilled! I always wanted to be a little smaller :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bring it on, treadmill!

On Friday, I was doing my normal 30 minutes or torture on the treadmill. Only it wasn't as bad as normal. It seemed to be going faster!
Well I was thinking back to Bob and Joelle's arguement on Biggest Loser, and I remembered he was having his team run 30 second sprints at 6.5 mph. So I thought to myself, if these 300-400 lb. people are running at 6.5, I should too! Granted they were walking inbetween, and I was running at 6.0... but I created a little challenge for myself!
So I when I hit 25 minutes (5 to go) I kicked it up to 6.5, and it felt fine, so I kicked it up to 7.0 mph. It felt really good! My legs were really stretching out and I felt really good! I ran at 7.0 for 4 minutes, until I hit 3 miles, then the last minute I walked.
So take that, stupid treadmill!
Really, it's the little things that make me happy :)

And also, over the weekend I completed levels 1 and 3 of the shred with my 8lb. weights. I almost made it through 2, but the squats at the end with the 8's were just not happening....
I'm so close though to completeing the whole series with my 8's!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Weigh Day Results!

This morning I weighed in at another -2! I am so happy, I've been seriously busting my butt! I still have 3 more Christmas pounds to lose, but I'm definitely going to get it off by Feb. 1! (Which is when I'm going to try on my size 10 new pants from The Limited that I got for Christmas)

Today is another 3 miles/30 minutes on the treadmill.... wish me luck.
And recommend some good music! Lately I've been listening to Muse (the more upbeat stuff)...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reader Questions and some random musings...

This week, Amber asked: Were you always bigger growing up? I know I was always the chunkier kid. I was just curious if you had been smaller at some point in time, gained weight again, and lost it again.
I would say from birth to age 5 or so, I was normal weight. Then I started to gain weight once I was in kindergarden. I'm not exactly sure why it occured then, but I do remember that's when I really started to have an appetite! I was probably 7 or 8 when I started ordering off the regular menu rather than the childrens. And I could put away food for a little kid!
Many people blame the parents, but I can't blame mine. I was constantly sneaking food because I was just always hungry! I think when I graduated High School, I was about 50 lbs. overweight, and then when I hit college, it was all downhill. I was all about the freshman 15. The cafeteria had no healthy food, and I was all about the 2am Taco Bell runs.
I then started working at Starbucks, and when you first start working there, you can't help but eat and drink everything. It probably took me 6 months before I could go to work and not have any drinks or pastry samles.
I also was an RA in college for freshman girls, so when they did their 2am Taco Bell runs, they'd stop in and see if I wanted anything. Nice, but not really...
So to answer, I wasn't horribly chubby, just overweight growing up. I still played sports (softball, basketball, swimming) but I also loved to eat and be lazy during the summer. My 4 years in college was when I gained about 40 lbs.

Another question, how long was it before you saw results on 30 Day shred?
When I began the shred, I had just finished C25K, so I was in pretty good cardio shape. I didn't have much trouble completing it, I was just so sore.
I think after the first week, and the soreness was gone, I started to feel my muscles growing and the inches disappearing. After about 2 months of doing the shred daily, I really started to see muscle definition, I could feel my abs working more, and my upper body feels so much stronger.
I lost about 7 lbs. the first month I did the shred (combined with a bit of running). I still shred daily, and I continue to see and feel results (like I'm starting to get the V muscles in my lower abs, my back is getting definition, and my arms are getting much stronger).

And on to the random musings:
My next race is on April 18, It is the spring run at the YMCA. My dad is coming out to Bloomington to run it with me. There is a 5k and a 10k, so I'm not 100% sure which one I'll run. I'd like to do the 10k, but since the weather has been awful, I haven't been running much... which brings me to....
I've been running on the treadmill MWF after work, and it's torture! I have my ipod, I can watch the TV (which is on CNN always) but I still am bored out of my mind. I can do 30 minutes, then I feel like I'm going to scream from the boredom. I feel like I can keep going, I just don't want to.
Unfortunatly, the weather doesn't look like it's going to warm up any time soon.... so I'll have to suck it up and contine to at least run 3x per week.
In the off days, I've been ellipticalling, and shredding daily.

And also... since I've been really trying to kick my butt back in gear and hit -100, I've really cut calories, which combined with winter, is making me SO tired. I just have no energy anymore. Work has been really stressful and busy, I've been eating less, working out harder, and my body just doesn't have any calories to burn on staying awake, apparently! I've been putting in about 9.5 hours of sleep each night for the past 2 weeks. It's nice, but when I go up to bed to read, I fall asleep every night... I hope it's just the lack of calories and the cold of winter... who knows!
I am eating well though, a nice combo of fruits, veggies, starches and proteins, however I'm considering adding a vitamin into my diet. We'll see how things go.

What else... I'm hoping for another -2 on Friday's weigh in.
My mom has decided she wants to throw a 100 lb. party for me when I finally do lose. I'm thinking about writing Jillian Michaels and inviting her... lol
Also, I'm really enjoying this season of the Biggest Loser. Anyone else watching? Liking it as well? I feel like many of the contestants this season are likable, much different from last!
Well.... I'll be posting the results on Friday of my next weigh in....

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I love finding fun things to do that double as a little exercise. Last Christmas, my husband started dropping hints that he wanted a Wii. He spent the next few months convincing me that we should get one, so with out tax refund I broke down and agreed!
Now we just have a regular Wii, not a fit, so I wouldn't exactly promote this as your daily exercise, but after shredding last night, my husband asked if I wanted to play Wii. We usually bowl or play Mario Kart, but I'm so close to the next level in boxing I told him I'd play a few rounds and then we could race. I have heard of some people strapping 5 lb. wrist weights on when boxing, but I'm not that hardcore!
It is a nice extra, fun workout though! And after boxing for 20 minutes, I was still a bit winded!
As for the fit, we may look into the fit sometime.... does anyone have one? Any comments on it?

Alternative to Soda

I have always been a big soda drinker, always diet coke with limes or lemons in it... but as I read more and more about the bad things soda contains, and how it can trigger hunger, I now only drink it when I go out to eat or go to someone's house. Not drinking soda has left a bit of a void in my life though! I don't eat many sweets, and Diet Coke was the one sweet thing I really indulged in. Drinking only water does get a bit boring, but I don't like to drink crystal light, or anything with too many sugar free chemicals.

My sister's friend - Kelly - loves to drink Cranberry juice with sparkling water rather than soda. Kris calls them Kelly-pops. The good thing is sparkling water has no calories, no sweeteners, and no sodium, it's just carbonated water. And it's much better to have a splash of real fruit juice than something with added sugar.

Recently my mother in law sent me a box of grapefruit from my grandparent-in-law's tree. Sometimes I get so jealous, how awesome would it be to have orange, lime and grapefruit trees in your back yard?!?! Anyway, I decided to juice some of them and add them to sparkling water, and it's so refreshing and delicious! A great alternative to the empty calories in soda, or the chemicals in diet soda!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Weigh Day

So I think I'll post every Friday from now on what my weekly loss is. It will help keep me accountable. This week I lost 2 lbs - yay! But it was of the 7 I gained from Christmas... so not exactly a huge victory.

I've been in a bit of a blogging lull lately... I don't have too much to post about. I have 2 things I'll post this weekend, but is there anything anyone wants to know? See? Questions? Comments?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Holy Cow! No, really....

So I was on facebook earlier today, and I saw that my sister's friend posted some photos from her bridal shower in June of 2007 - 3 months after I started my weight loss life change (I know, lame, but I just can't bring myself to say 'diet' because it's really not a diet!)

So anyway, how awful do I look?! Ugh... as painful as it is for me to see photos like this, it's good because it shows me how far I've come!
It's crazy though, because I had lost 15 lbs. then, and was fitting into my size 18 dress, which made me so happy. I can remember being so happy that morning that the dress fit me and I'd lost 15 lbs.
W-O-W is all I can say.

So anyway, because I'm still SUPER self-conscious, I have to put in a more recent photo of me looking much, much better. This is of the hubs and I on Christmas Eve in my white pants - lol!

And as an aside, tomorrow is weigh day, we'll see if I've lost any of the post Christmas 7 lb. gain... I am hopeful, I've been busting my but this week!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 Goals!

I'm not really a resolution making type person... I'm not going to say I won't eat fries this year, or I'll only have dessert once a week, or I'll work out every single day no matter what - because it's too restricting, and I know I won't stick with it.

I'd rather set some goals for myself. If I hit them in '09, great! If I can't, that's ok, as long as I keep working towards it...

So here are some goals I have for myself...some are health related, some are personal, some are random! Every now and then I might come back to this and give a few updates...

-Run a 5k in under 30 minutes (cutting 2:30 off my PR)

-Do the entire shred series with my 8lb. weights (now I'm doing about half the moves with 8's and half with 5's)

-Do 1 pull up

-Run a 10k in under 65 minutes (cutting 4:10 off my PR)

-Read 50 books (and it must be a good mixture of classics, contemporary, historical, romance, drama, etc. so far I've got 2.5 down, 47.5 to go!)

-Hit my goal of losing 100 lbs, then maybe 7 more :)

-Adopt 2 more dogs once we move into a house....

-Buy a house (hopefully this summer or fall!)

-Call my grandparents once a week (I hate taking on the phone, but I know my Grandma likes it when I call)

-Teach Pumpkin 6 more tricks - if anyone has ever taught their dog to put that toys back in their toy bin, please tell me how you did it! Or any suggestions to what I can teach her, so far we have sit, down, paw, high-five, sit pretty, roll over, and stay (if I put a treat on her paw). We're currently working on I say Bang! and she plays dead. This one's taking some work....

-Eat vegetarian 2 nights per week (simple for me, I was one for 7 years, the tough part is finding satisfying vegetarian meals for my very NOT vegetarian husband)

-Research and implement one new 'green living' technique each month

-Do one new special, nice, unexpected, or thoughtful thing for JJ each week

So what are some of your goals?
Any suggestions to help me work on mine?

Monday, January 5, 2009

7 is NOT a lucky number!

So I'm sure everyone's been waiting in suspense to see how I did during the holidays, right? lol.
Well, I gained 7 lbs.
I'm kind of indifferent about it though. Sure, it sucks to have to re-lose it, but I had such good food, and I was so relaxed. And with all of the travel and conditions, exercise wasn't easy to get in.
It's funny I gained 7 lbs. because that's exactly what I gained last Christmas (and it took until Valentine's day to get it off) and then this year, that's what I gained after my Grandpa died and I hit the desserts hard.... oops!

So anyway... I always feel like I'm enlightened when these thoughts pop into my mind, but as I was talking to JJ last night, I was a little bummed about it at first, but he was like, well you know you're just going to lose it again. And it hit me again, yeah, I AM going to. It's a part of who I am now. I'm not going back, I'm in no hurry, I'm going to continue to live healthy, and the weight will come off eventually (Though to be 100% honest, it would be nice to just finally lose it all so I can get a new wardrobe, I'm constantly having to buy and get rid of clothes and my closet always seems empty...ugh).
But it's just not that easy.
So the big countdown might be delayed a month, maybe 2, but does it really matter when? I don't think so. It will happen. Maybe just in time for a new spring/summer wardrobe :) I always did love the spring!
So that's enough rambling for now.

I can promise this though, I will lose that 7 before Valentine's Day this year. Count on that :)